Album Review: The Rocket Summer - 'Of Men And Angels'

13 March 2010 | 8:55 pm | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

Pretty damn good for a guy who didn’t use auto-tune.

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Every time I listen to this album, I remember why I have always loved the music that Bryce Avery, from The Rocket Summer, has produced and created.

Yeah sure, it might be little poppier or lighter then most things, but it sure as hell will put you in a brighter mood and leave you with a smile on your face. It’s a breath of fresh air compared to most other vocalists and musicians in this industry today.

Although, I do have to be honest and say that this release doesn’t quite match the standard that its predecessor ‘Do You Feel’ had set.

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This pertains to two tracks in particular: ‘Japanese Exchange Student’ and ‘Tara, I’m Terrible’. While they were a notable attempt to slightly step out of the ordinary, they fail to achieve their purpose. Instead, they end up feeling awkward, stretched and squished – a feeling similar to meeting your boyfriend or girlfriends parents or family for the first time.

However, the albums opener ‘Roses’ is the opposite of that. ‘Roses’ is undoubtedly one of the best tracks to feature on this album. The melody is perfectly paced and Avery’s vocals are shown off with precision, and are done without sounding whiney.

While this album deals with many personal aspects of Avery’s life, most notably depression, spiritual questioning and artistic roadblocks – in songs such as ‘Walls,’ ‘I Want Something to Live For,’ ‘Put Myself Together (Don't Hate Me)’ and ‘Nothing Matters’ – this album doesn’t turn into a downer. Avery manages to once again showcase his remarkable talent of writing alternative pop/rock with a sweet and sunny disposition.

Nothing Matters’ is definitely one of the simplest tracks on this album, and arguably one of the best. Lyrics and lyrical composition was always one of The Rocket Summers best features, and were becoming more prominent of each album that was released. This is no exception on this album; the lyrics are still a meaningful part of the listening experience.

When I listen to The Rocket Summer, I always get the same image enter into my head: An unbelievably sunny day, road-tripping down the highway with friends, and with The Rocket Summer playing through the car speakers.

It’s a fantastic album. It’s full of fresh air, and sunshine – which is a pretty difficult concept to put into albums these days.

Though it may not quite reach the level that ‘Do You Feel’ did, it’s pretty damn close to it. Definitely worth a spin or 5.

1. "Roses" 3:46

2. "You Gotta Believe" 3:16

3. "Hills and Valleys" 3:45

4. "I Want Something to Live For" 3:59

5. "Walls" 4:48

6. "Pull Myself Together (Don't Hate Me)" 3:34

7. "Of Men and Angels" 3:45

8. "I Need a Break…But I'd Rather Have a Breakthrough" 3:27

9. "Nothing Matters" 3:25

10. "Japanese Exchange Student" 3:37

11. "Tara, I'm Terrible" 3:01

12. "Hey!" 2:43

13. "Let You Go" 4:26

14. "This is a Refuge" 3:49

15. "Light" 4:02